Our first time down these trails was just under a year ago and boy oh boy is it great to be back. Last year was Blue`s first mountain technical trip and he really didn`t have the footwork down pat yet, so I was pretty alert to his movements all the way around the circuit. This year he is a new horse and he watches the trail and deals with the footing and I am free to gawk around at the scenery. And trust me there is a lot of gawking to be done on these trails. The photo above is heading along the creek into the Chiricahua National Monument and you can see Wink is a little cavalier with Brenda`s bad knee.
This was also Wink`s first trip through here but for the most part she handled everything like she always does, just like she has been there a thousand times.
The national monument was created in 1924 by Calvin Coolidge with a Presidential Proclamation and I thank Calvin for his foresight. It is a wonderful place and many of the improvements were done by Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees of NM-2-A, Company 828, who were stationed at Chiricahua National Monument from 1934-1940. The men improved the scenic drive, created the hiking trails, and built most of the structures in use today.
Many, but not all, of the trails in the park allowed horseback riders although there are a few guidelines that must be followed. They only allow twenty horses to use the park each day and they would like that to be broken down further into less than 10 head traverse a trail at one time. We numbered 19 riders so we headed in as two groups with about an hour of separation between the two bands.
As you can imagine I have a lot of pictures of this place and will put a few in singly but the majority will be lumped together as an album. If you hover your cursor over some of the shots you can see my comments about them.
This is a truly spectacular trail which is on every trailriders bucket list, and Brenda and I are hoping to keep checking it off for years to come. I am sure each time you make the journey you find another great vista or neat spot along the way.
Above Blue is looking over the edge and probably thinking this is a place where we need to watch our step or we will join the angels as I don`t have the wings of Pegasus to carry us on down there.
There are hundreds of steps and miles of ledges cut out of solid rock by the above mentioned CCC, as well as natural slot type canyons between the pinnacles of rock that have been carved out by the wind and water over the eons.
Once we finished the days ride we ran into a little excitement back at our trailers. Two of our local cowboys had brought a couple of borrowed stock trailers in to haul us all from camp to the trailhead, as there is very little parking on site here. When those of us in the first group got back to the trailers the Park Rangers were waiting for us and convinced that we had to be a commercial group. As is usual in these places commercial groups are only allowed to be brought in by approved concessionaires and Ranger Rick? was convinced that we were contravening the rules. He pounced on the fellow who had coordinated the trailers and tried valiantly to get him to confess to numerous crimes. Alas after interviewing a number of our fellow riders he had to go away with his tail between his legs as it appears we were doing nothing wrong and his ticket book would need to stay in his truck after all. Those folks who supplied the trailers were only rewarded by getting to fill their plates at our usual Saturday night potluck. Here is a link to all the shots I took Saturday.
Because of the long haul down here from the Phoenix area we decided as a group that we should travel down on Friday, ride the Chiricahua National Monument on Saturday, and then ride up the Pinery Canyon ride to Iron Springs on Sunday. Although this ride had a hard act to follow it was a nice little jaunt just to work the kinks out from the day before.
We did a little riding and a little relaxing,
so that we were ready for a campfire in the evening. The previous nights fire of course had the potluck and a birthday cake for both Katherine whose birthday it was and Brenda’s whose birthday is just around the corner, so Sunday we just had some appetizers and Ken rounded up a “Yukon Candle” for the evenings fire. We even had an impromptu dance demonstration put on by our new friend Darrell Brown.
That fire and the company of all of our friends sure managed to keep things warm this weekend. A map for those who like that sort of thing, the top trail was in the Chiricahau’s and the bottom one in Pinery Canyon.
Now what is up for the future, well we are planning a week long ride in about 10 days so our mounts were off today making sure they had the proper footwear.
And Brenda is having a birthday.